Guest Post: Mr. LOLZ Mercedes Marathon (2:59.45)

As most people know, my husband ran his first marathon last weekend.  For his first blog post, he decided to share his recap of the race.  Enjoy!


As people know, Hollie and I lived in Alabama for about 6 weeks due to my work.  Going into the marathon, I was finishing a six-week course for the Air Force. While I had time to train, running wasn’t my main focus.  In fact, I hadn’t committed to the marathon until we finished the preview run just two weeks prior.    I finished 20 that day.  I knew I could finish a marathon, but I wanted to finish it under 3 hours.  I heard the Mercedes marathon was a good full and it fell on the end of my course so I thought it would be a good idea to do.

The night before, we had Mellow Mushroom pizza which is Hollie and I’s favorite restaurant. I’m lactose intolerant, so I don’t get cheese but garlic and oil based. I like to feel full but not overwhelmed. We went to bed at 8 pm and were up at 4:15 am. I had coffee and a bagel for breakfast.  We walked to the start after Hollie needed to go to the car twice in the morning for random things including running shoes. I guess she is not into barefoot running.

I don’t like big races and would rather do a small 100 person one.  The bathroom situation and start line are always crazy. Once we got to the start, I was faced with a 30 min bathroom line, but I discovered bathrooms on the third floor which had zero line. We got to the start about 10 mins before and chatted with Miles, and exchanged race strategies. My goal was to go out in a 7 min pace and pick it up to break 3 hours. I was told this was a bad strategy given the heat conditions and it was my first marathon.

Since the half and full marathon started together, I started next to my wife. As they did the countdown for the start, my wife was dancing to rap music. I don’t understand why they play rap music at starts but it’s another reason I don’t like big races.  Unlike Hollie who talks to everyone she knows and dances at the start line, I like to stay focused.

The race went off with a literal “go go go”. I started off as expected. It was rush of people as expected. I told myself to chill and relax. I came through the first mile in 6:40.

I was already getting hot and anticipated I might need to delayer to my top.  Between mile 1-2, I moved my race bib from my shirt to my shorts because it impeded air flow. I don’t know how I didn’t fall.

The next few miles clicked along, and between miles 2-8, I kept an even pace between 6:50-7. I run with a stopwatch with no GPS, so I went based in mile markers. My goal to the halfway was to remain relaxed and not to pick it up. The heat wasn’t affecting me as much as I anticipated but I also ran a half marathon while deployed in 90 degrees (literally 90 degrees).

At mile 10, many half marathoners passed me doing their finishing kick. They pulled me along, and I caught up with one kid whose goal was to break 90 minutes in the half. I hit the halfway point in 1:30.40 which was exactly what I planned. Even though that was “the plan,” I was worried because it was slower than 3-hour pace and my hamstring was tight.

The marathon course is a double loop of the half, and we started back around for round 2. Excitingly enough, we ran the exact same course twice. I looked up at the first hill and saw two runners about 2 mins ahead and thought they were probably at the 3-hour pace. I caught them about 3 miles later. I ran between 6:20-6:40 for the next few miles based on hills.

Around miles 16-18, I slowed down for the next few miles because I was nervous to hit the infamous wall marathoners talk about. I kept an easier pace going up hills and passed a few more people.  I had begun to pass a lot of people.  That’s motivating in any race.

Personally, I never felt as though I hit the wall. Around mile 20, we hit the downhill with a minor headwind.

Once I got to mile 23, I did the math and realized to break 3 I would have to run 7-minute pace exactly. The next three miles I ran in 7:03, and when I got to mile 26, I knew it was extremely close, and I had to go. I would regret running above 3 hours.  My half marathon PR is 1:20.02 so I didn’t want to do that again.

When I rounded the last turn, I could see the finish line reading 2:59. I picked it up and ran as hard as possible and finished in 2:59.45.  I guess I ran by my wife screaming but I didn’t notice because I was staring at the finish.

After I crossed the line, I felt my legs cramping and kept walking. I chugged a Powerade and ate half of the Orange supply.


I know I’ll a do another marathon at some point when my schedule allows me to train.  I had a good experience with the marathon and while I prefer it over the half marathon, I still like 5-10ks better.

Hollie told me to ask some questions at the bottom so:

What do you remember about your first marathon?

Do you like to stay focused at the start line or are you relaxed and talkative? 


21 responses

  1. YAY! CONGRATULATIONS! You did a fantastic job, and you obviously have some great marathon potential in those legs! I remember the majority of my first marathon, but that is also because I was terrified my IT band would blow at any moment, so I was hyper aware of things. I’m usually very focused at the start. People try to talk to me, and I will just stare them down. Or I get hella nervous and can’t contain myself (but that is rare)

  2. The last line – ‘Hollie told me to ask some questions at the bottom so:’ cracked me up! That’s such a WONDERFUL feat for a first marathon. Always respect for the uniformed ones!! You sacrifice a lot so that we may be safe. Salute!

  3. I love guest post! This could become a thing! Congrats, Tim!!

    I have a whole blog entry somewhere about my first marathon – otherwise, my old and feeble mind would have to try to remember it all. 🙂 I’m like you. Not a lot of chit chat at the start. I usually move away from the chatty ones…no offense Hollie!

  4. Congrats!!!! Amazing time in those conditions!!! Welcome to the sub 3 club 🙂
    1st marathon painful but ready to try it again to run that sub 3
    I used to be focus but nowadays I am talking and dancing if the music is good…

  5. Great job on your first post. I hope you will be a regular!

    My first marathon was the Penn Relays Marathon in Philly in 1978. They ran out of water at the water stops and it was hot. I don’t think Gatorade was invented yet.

  6. Wow awesome job on your first full marathon and for completely crushing your goal! Before my first full I was like you…so focused I couldn’t even talk to my family haha.

  7. Great job!

    My first marathon. Well I remember hitting the wall, had to take a couple of walking breaks, still managed around 3:30, and crossing the finish line was very memorable.

    I won’t say I’m anti-social but for any challenging race like a marathon I have my own little personal routine the entire morning, so I’m usually sticking to that off on my own.

    The exception is trail races. Trail runners are crazy, and I find myself being more social before, during, and after. Then there is the spring trail race I do, where the race director personally taunts each runner on the big hill at the the 7 mile mark, so yeah, it depends on the race and atmosphere.

  8. Fantastic finishing time for your first marathon, Huge congrats! At start lines I am most comfortable staying focused and not talking, it’s fun to watch the chatters and dancers though 🙂

  9. Nice one! 👍🏻 Really enjoyed reading this and I’m also inspired to be more like Hollie and dance at the start line, haha 😂 I’m really working on not taking racing too seriously 😆
    Anyway, you did an amazing job and I’m impressed you were able to do the maths during the race, my mind usually goes blank.
    I would love to know how you fueled during the race! I’m planning on running my first full marathon this year…

  10. Great job! It’s definitely interesting to hear your perspective on running and racing. The two of you are so fast and it’s amazing for us mere mortals to witness. I actually hysterically cried at the starting line of my first marathon because I was so terrified!

    • Nice! I’ve only ever done one sub-3 and that was my exact time. A sub-3 is a sub-3, though, whether you run 2:04 or 2:59 – congrats!

  11. That’s awesome. I like to talk to people at the start, it loosens me up and it may help others that are nervous. I just ran my first trail marathon on the 18th. I learned a lot and I’m excited to do my first road marathon soon. My hips really got tired after 20 miles but there was a lot of climbing. I may have to focus some more strength training in that area. I’m hoping for a nice, flat course for my next marathon and I would like to do it under 3:30. Good luck on your future races. Thank you for serving in our military.

  12. My first marathon was HE-L-L. I was a bit undertrained, overweight and coming off an injury. Can you say 5:36?! Lots of walking… I remember hitting the wall… at mile 20 for sure and mostly walking after that.

    I loved reading your post… and listening from a different perspective. Hollie-more guest posts please!

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